Program Support Grants

IMPORTANT NOTICES
Pre-Applications/Applications Open:
Monday, Feb. 5  |  Deadline: Monday, March 25
Click here
to view the Program Support Grant guidelines

The Regional Arts Commission’s (RAC) Program Support Grant provides a one-year program or project support grant in the production and/or presentation of artistic activities to non-arts organizations or fiscally-sponsored projects (including arts programs produced by St. Louis universities).

These projects or programs serve to broaden and deepen audience/community participation and increase access to the arts for visitors and residents throughout the St. Louis region and must occur in St. Louis city or county.

We strive to set grant applicants up for success and support them in feeling as prepared as possible. For a number of helpful must-see links and to take the guesswork out of the process, please be sure to review the RESOURCES section on this page. Then follow the steps below under HOW TO APPLY.

HOW TO APPLY

CLICK HERE TO START
YOUR APPLICATION

If you do not have an account,
you can create one when you
start your new application.
Already started your 2024 application?
Skip to STEP 3 to sign in and access it!

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getting started!

Once you begin a new
application, a direct link will be
sent to the email you provided.
Now, you can edit, save, revisit,
and submit your application.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN IN
TO YOUR ACCOUNT

Your account is where you
review, edit, and submit an
application that you have already
started or view past applications
you have already submitted.

For technical assistance when using the grant making system, please email MS_RACSTL_Grantmaking@blackbaud.com

frequently asked questions

I CANNOT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT. WHO DO I CONTACT?

 Blackbaud Grantmaking is the RAC grant management system. For technical assistance when using the grantmaking system, please email MS_RACSTL_Grantmaking@blackbaud.com. 

IS PROGRAM SUPPORT RIGHT FOR MY ORGANIZATION?
  • A project may consist of one or more specific events or activities; it may be part of or all of an applicant’s regular season or activities. Applicants that undertake a single short-term project in a year – i.e.: a ten-day jazz festival– could apply for the event, or they could identify certain components (such as the presentation of a key artist and the associated activities) for their application.
  • Applicants may apply for any or all phases of a project, from its planning through its execution.
  • Programs may be new and untested or ongoing with proven track records.
  • Programs may cover a broad range of singular or multiple artistic disciplines. 
IS THERE A PRE-APPLICATION PROCESS?

 There is no pre-application process for RAC Program Support applicants in 2024. 

WHAT ARE THE KEY GRANT DATES AND DEADLINES?

 Click here for a comprehensive list of important grant dates and deadlines. 

WHAT ARE THE PROGRAM SUPPORT GRANT RESTRICTIONS?

 Click here to review the list of programs, projects, or events that RAC does not fund. 

WHAT ARE THE GRANT ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS?

 Eligible organizations meet the following requirements: 

  • Local focus: Arts and cultural programs must occur in St. Louis City and/or St. Louis County.
  • Nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization: In “good standing” as a nonprofit corporation in the State of Missouri and 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or a unit of federal or local government such as a library, county, or municipal agency.
  • Arts programming: The proposed program’s primary purpose must be the creation, presentation, or utilization of arts and culture.
  • Timeframe: The program for which you are applying must take place between July 1, 2024 and June 30, 2025. 
HOW MUCH IN GRANT FUNDING CAN I REQUEST?

The maximum amount of funding is $10,000. 

ARE MATCHING FUNDS REQUIRED?

Program Support Grant awards do not require matching funds. However, RAC encourages organizations to identify and secure diverse revenue streams. 

CAN I APPLY USING A FISCAL SPONSOR?

Applicants are eligible to apply for up to $10,000 with a fiscal sponsor (agent) in Program Support, provided that: 

  • The fiscal sponsor is a nonprofit corporation with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), preferably with a history of arts programming, or has tax-exempt status from the IRS with a fiscal sponsorship-based mission.
  • Included in the application is a letter signed by the sponsoring organization’s executive director indicating their agreement to serve as a fiscal sponsor should a grant be made for the program.
  • If an application is funded, the applicant and the fiscal sponsor must both sign the Terms and Conditions Agreement issued by RAC. 
WHAT IS MY PROGRAM’S APPLICATION CATEGORY?

Applicants will apply in one of the following categories. 

  • Arts and Culture: Performances, concerts, exhibitions, readings, publications, arts education, and similar activities.
  • Cultural Festivals, Parades and Special Events: Events that enhance the economic vitality of St. Louis and increase the region’s visibility and desirability, i.e., as a destination for local and out-of-town visitors.
  • Community Arts: Initiatives/Programs using the arts as a tool for social change and/or civic engagement. 
WHAT ARE THE FUNDING CRITERIA?
  • Artistic Essentials (weighted at 40%): A non-arts organization or fiscally-sponsored project that produces or presents culturally and artistically significant work that supports a full creative life for every St. Louisan.
  • Community Benefit (weighted at 30%): A program that demonstrates broad community benefit while advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
  • Capacity (weighted at 30%): A non-arts organization or fiscally-sponsored project that intentionally plans for program capacity. 
WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED AS PART OF MY APPLICATION?
  • Program Support Budget (Template download from RAC website)
  • Organizational Health WorksheetFiscally-sponsored programs should complete the Organizational Health Worksheet with information about their fiscal sponsor. They may choose to include additional information about their program/organization on the form. (Download from RAC website)
  • 990 WorksheetOrganizations that completed a 990-N postcard AND programs applying with a fiscal sponsor should indicate that in your upload and leave the other fields blank. (Download from RAC website)
  • Board of Directors List – Fiscally-sponsored programs should upload the Board of Directors List for their fiscal sponsor. They may choose to include an Advisory Board List from their organization, if applicable. Both lists must be in one PDF document. (List to include roles and affiliations).
  • Financial Statements for the two most recently completed fiscal years and most recent audit – Fiscally-sponsored programs should upload their fiscal sponsor organization’s Financial Statements.
  • Up to 3 Work Samples (in one PDF document)
  • Critical Review (Optional)
  • DEI Statement, Policy, or Plan (Optional) – Fiscally sponsored programs should upload a DEI Statement, Policy, or Plan from their fiscal sponsor, if available. They may also include their program’s DEI Statement, Policy, or Plan, if available. All documents must be in one PDF. 
HOW CAN I COMPLETE THE RAC BUDGET FORM WITHOUT PURCHASING EXCEL?

An alternative to using Excel is to recreate the template in Google Sheets or Apple Numbers. Google Sheets is free, but you will have to recreate the template and get it as close as possible to the Excel version. Make sure to include the two sections and all top horizontal column headers. The budget needs to be saved as a PDF to be uploaded into the system. 

CAN I SUBMIT VIDEOS OR VIDEO LINKS AS WORK SAMPLES?

Yes, you can submit video links as work samples. Please include your links in a word document and upload the document as a PDF. All work samples need to be saved in one PDF document to be uploaded into the system. 

WHAT DOES THE APPLICATION REVIEW PROCESS ENTAIL?

Grant reviewers play a central role in RAC’s annual grantmaking process. Reviewers commit to the following: 

  • Attend/view an online orientation session to learn how to review the applications according to the guidelines and review criteria.
  • Attend/view a bias/cultural competency workshop.
  • Read and rate the assigned applications, including videos, photos, recordings, or other work samples by the communicated deadline. (Reviewers who do not meet the deadline can receive an extension but do not receive the honorarium.)
  • Provide RAC with feedback on the application review process for improvement purposes. 

Note: Grant reviewers will independently read and rate all applications within the Blackbaud GMS online portal. Staff will review the ratings and make final recommendations for funding based on reviewer ratings. 

HOW ARE GRANTS RATED?

There are three review sections that correspond to RAC review criteria: Artistic Essentials; Community Benefit; and Capacity/Sustainability. Each review section has three questions, for a total of nine questions in the application. Each review section is weighted and conveys the corresponding points possible for each question. Application question responses can be rated exemplary, strong, good, fair, or weak—and given a score within the provided point range. 

The maximum number of points available is 100. The points assigned to each question in the application are used to determine the final award amount. Points are combined to provide an overall application score. Reviewer scores for an application are then averaged for the final application score. 

Final application scores are determined in whole numbers. Most applications will receive an average that is not a whole number. For example, if an application receives a 60.7 overall score, this means the application’s 

final score is 60. The final score is determined by the whole number that precedes the decimal and will not be rounded up nor down. 

For more details on the grant rating system, refer to the Program Support Grant Guidelines. 

IS THERE AN APPEALS PROCESS?

There is no appeals process for the Program Support application process. 

HOW IS PROGRAM SUPPORT GRANT FUNDING DISTRIBUTED?

The available source of funding for RAC Program Support Grants is not sufficient to meet applicant demand. The final distribution of funding is dependent on several factors. These variables factor into the final funding matrix:

  •  The available funding
  • The number of applications submitted
  • The applicant score
  • The number of applicants awarded funding 

Given the above information, the percentage for funding for which your application is eligible may not be your grant award amount. 

IF I AM APPROVED FOR A GRANT, HOW WILL I BE NOTIFIED?

If awarded a grant, applicants will be notified via the Blackbaud GMS portal and a direct email. 

WILL APPLICANTS BE ABLE TO VIEW THE SCORES RECEIVED, WHETHER OR NOT THE GRANT WAS MADE? ADDITIONALLY, IF WE DO NOT RECEIVE RAC FUNDING IN 2024, WILL WE RECEIVE FEEDBACK TO BETTER POSITION OURSELVES FOR FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES?

You may request your scores and reviewer feedback in order to improve your grant application for the next opportunity by emailing grants@racstl.org. 

WHAT ARE THE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS?

RAC will issue final report instructions and the report form through the Blackbaud GMS platform. Each grantee is required to submit a final report in accordance with the timeline. Should a grantee not complete the reporting requirement, they will be ineligible to apply for RAC grants in the future. 

we welcome your questions

Or email us at grants@racstl.org